Potato Leek Soup

My friend Deanna texted me Sunday asking if I would give her my potato leek soup recipe. I told her, “Of course,” as long as I wrote it down last time I made it. Forever I used to just cook and how I made something was never recorded. To me it did not matter if I ever made something the same way again. Then I started blogging and other people wanted to cook what I was making. That is when I started recording my recipes as I made them, otherwise they were lost forever.

I looked in my blog for the potato leek soup, but could not find it. So I had to recreate it so I could write it down. I served it for Mah Jongg lunch today just to kill two birds with one stone. So Deanna, this recipe is for you and you can always search for it on the blog now.

Potato Leek Soup

I like to eat this hot, but of course you can eat it cold.

3 leeks- just the white and light green parts, sliced very thin and soaked in cold water to remove grit

3 large cloves of garlic- minced

3 tablespoons of butter

4 large Yukon gold potatoes – peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks

Handful of fresh thyme stems with leaves on them tied into a bundle with kitchen string

Five cups of chicken stock

1/2 cup of heavy cream

Salt and Pepper

Put the butter in a stock pot and melt, add the leeks and garlic and cook on medium heat, stirring regularly for 5-7 minutes. The leeks should get to be very soft and wilt to about half their starting volume.

Add the potatoes, thyme bundle and the chicken stock which should cover the potatoes. Add more stock if needed. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer with lid on the pot, for about twenty minutes, until the potatoes are soft when stuck with a fork.

Remove from heat. Take the thyme bundle out and shake as many leaves off the stems as you can into the soup. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup. Add the cream and whirl a little more to incorporate it. Season with salt and pepper. It might take a lot of each depending

on how salty your stock was.

Serve with toasted bread croutons and minced chives.


Hearings Questions

I have spent the last two days watching the impeachment hearings. Now I also did a lot of quilting, cleaning and cooking while the TV was on, just so my days would not be a total bust.

I have been impressed with the career government officials who seem to be so much smarter than others in the room. It gave me some confidence that not everyone who is reasonable has left Washington or been fired. It did scare me to think about the amount of brain power and experience we are losing as these people leave.

As the hearings have been playing out I continue to have one really big question that has not been answered. How is it that Rudy Giuliani was able to have so many career government officials not say, “You hold no public office and we will not work with you?”

I don’t care if he is the President’s private attorney. He was not confirmed by congress as a representative of the United States. He should not he allowed to peddle Presidential Influence around the world.

No one has disputed the irregular channel that Rudy is part of, but why was that not the big outrage? We can’t have henchmen acting on behalf of the president.

Just the President telling people to “talk to Rudy” about foreign relations seems like it is a violation of some rule. Let’s get to the questions about what the hell Rudy has been doing!


Clean Out Your Fridge Day

Thanksgiving is ten days away. When was the last time you cleaned out your refrigerator? Even if it was just last month probably should go on and do it again in the next two days. While you are at it you should clean out your garage refrigerator too.

You really can’t cook much this far in advance so the best use of your time is making room for all the groceries you are going to need, not just for the main show Turkey meal, but for the other breakfasts, lunches and dinner that people are going to want to eat.

Don’t forget you will need room for leftovers. A turkey carcass takes up also the as much room as a whole turkey. And you should save your carcass and make stock out of it because there is nothing better than turkey stock.

Speaking of leftovers, how is your stock of rubbermaid containers? If they are already in use in your freezer you need to go on and eat up whatever you have frozen this week so you get your containers back and have room in your freezer for extra ice. Yes, with all those people around and I mean sitting around your house expecting drinks and snacks while they watch football, you are going to need more ice than your little ice maker can put out. There is nothing worse than running out of ice halfway through turkey dinner, just because you were more concerned with stuffing.

So skip whatever you had planned today or tomorrow and get to work cleaning out your fridge. And clean it too, don’t just throw stuff away. The last thing you want is some unwanted relative commenting about the sticky substance on your refrigerator shelf. Even if you try and blame it on them, you will be embarrassed.


The Crown, The Crown, The Crown is Back

After waiting months and months The Crown with the new and aged cast is back. I love that Netflix releases all the episodes at once I really don’t want to binge this season as it will make the wait for the next that much longer. Despite this desire to stretch the whole thing out I have already watched the first two episodes and have already forgotten the old cast whom I loved so much.

Olivia Coleman is a fabulous as the Queen. The step from young Clair Foy to middle aged Olivia is easy. Perhaps because dowdy to dowdy is not a stretch.

Princess a Margaret is a different story. They cast Helena Bonham Carter at age 54 to play 34 year old a princess Margaret. It is a much bigger jump from the tall thin young Vanessa Kirby who played the younger Margaret in the first two seasons to the short and stout Carter. Don’t get me wrong, Helena is a great actress and probably will be as colorful as the real Princess Margaret, but is is a giant jump from the first princess. Leave it to the Brits to cast a much older woman for a younger role. That move is good for women actresses everywhere.

I do wonder if Bonham Carter already knew how to blow smoke rings or had to learn to do that for this role. It is a skill for which she should be applauded.

One other trick the producers of the Crown did to make Bonham Carter appear to be the right one for the role is they cast a man who is older than Anthony Armstrong Jones to play her husband. He is also no where as attractive as the real Armstrong Jones, which I guess is only natural since it would be hard to find any actor who could match him.

Nonetheless, I am certain I will love every minute of this wonderful series! Long live the Crown!


Sisters Sales Team

My very prolific painter mother is over whelmed with hundreds of fabulous works of art. In an attempt to make room to paint more she decided to have an art show for three days at the farm. Three buildings on the farm are being used to display it all. That being the case she needed help manning each building. So each daughter was summoned to come work this show. Two thirds brought a significant other in addition.

Since the farm is in such a rural area there are not a lot of art buyers milling about. I did my best to entice people to make the hours drive to the farm and my friend Kathi, who has been a consistent collector, came and purchased. I am eternally grateful for her support.

It was a slow day. Thankfully my cousins and Aunt came up to visit which made it looked like there were more people. One issue is there are so many fabulous works of art, displayed in a house that is chocked full of art that it is hard to even really see it all.

I did some social media and got got some interest from far off friends who looked at the website, janecarterart.com. Unfortunately the paintings were either sold or too big, but keep looking! An order did come over on my Mom’s Etsy sight from my sorority sister Lori Goldman. She didn’t even message me, just ordered herself. Thanks Lori!

The show is open tomorrow afternoon. The address of the farm is 839 Hom-a-gen lane Providence,NC. Since it is a private road you might have trouble finding it, but it is the first driveway on the right on SHady Grove Road, off Route 86. Message me if you want better instructions.

I won’t be there tomorrow but at least one if not two of my sisters and their significant others will be selling with my Mom. No pressure. Just look if you want.


New Logo for The Food Bank

For all the years I have worked with the Food Bank we had an ugly logo with our service area in green on the taupe state of North Carolina and a UPS brown background. Our long legal name of Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina was spelled out every time.

The logo had a reason as the green part represents the 34 counties of North Carolina we service. The taupe section in the middle is serviced by the Food Bank In Fayetteville. Even with that reason the colors are dated as is the font. This has been a peeve of mine for a long time. Despite the fact that everyone calls us “The Food Bank” and if you google Food Bank in North Carolina we are what come up, there were legal entities that insisted we use our whole long name all the time.

Well alleluia, common sense has prevailed and the Food Bank has changed it’s logo and can call it’s self The Food Bank as long as the legal name is mentioned first.

So the talented designer at the Food Bank, Megan Weeks, came up with this new logo in a modern font. The center square with a circle in it looks like a plate on a table. The blue and green colors make me so happy.

The new logo was officially unveiled last night at the Evening of Appreciation, which I really appreciated. As Russ, Carter and I were leaving, the photo booth people were closing up shop. We begged them to let us get a picture and they nicely agreed. So now you can see the new logo here. It will be displayed alongside the old one for a little while so people can get used to it, so don’t throw out that new looking envelope from the Food Bank. We are the same great place turning every dollar you donate into ten meals for your hungry neighbors. Still the best investment in helping a North Carolina you can get.


A Night Full of Surprises

A few months ago I had the honor of being chosen the Hunt-Morgridge Award winner. What you haven’t heard of that? It’s kind of like the lifetime achievement award for the Food Bank. I joked I was way too young to receive this award since I had only spent the last twenty years volunteering there. Nonetheless they gave me the award.

Tonight was the Evening of Appreciation event where I was actually receiving the actual award. The event is usually an inside baseball kind of night where just the really good friends of the Food Bank come so they can be thanked for all they do. Corporate donors and individuals are recognized for their generosity. Mega volunteer organizations are called out for all they do for the Food Bank.

I had asked my parents if they would like to come and a few of my local friends. I was sad that Carter was going to be at school, but I knew I was going to see her at Thanksgiving. The Food Bank apparently sent invitations to many people I know. I figured this out when I started getting cards saying that some far off friends had made donations to the Food Bank in my honor. Thanks to you all for such a meaningful way to show me your love.

My parents came to our house to ride over to Raliegh with us. We pulled in the parking lot and as I was getting out of the car I heard my sister Margaret’s voice. She and her boyfriend Pete had driven down from Annopolis as a surprise. After we were inside the Food Bank, seeing so many old friends, I looked across the room and saw Carter coming through the door. What a fabulous surprise which made us both cry.

Then my sister Janet, who I thought was still in China, appeared with her girlfriend Sophie. My whole family was here. It made my night. Many friends came from Durham which is a true sign of love to fight rush hour traffic. It meant the world to me.

My wonderful Food Bank family said many nice things to and about me before I was able to take the stage and give my speech. In it I said that my 20 years of working for the Food Bank had been my true joy. Being honored with this award was icing on a cake I share with so many. But my work is not done at the Food Bank, never will be until we don’t have one hungry person in Central and Eastern North Carolina. Now on to the next twenty.